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HUEN 3100: Human Longing and Human Being

University of Colorado
Fall 2016
Prof. Brooks

Final Paper Prompt (20% of Final Grade)
Write an analytical essay of approximately 1,700 words on one of the prompts below. A paper copy of the essay is
due in my office (ECOT 525) on Friday, December 9th by 4pm. Also upload the essay to the D2L Dropbox by 4.
Option 1: This semester we have studied intellectual and personal freedom, justice, good and evil, the meaning of
virtue, the meaning of happiness, the nature and limits of human knowledge, the existence of God, God’s relationship
to man, the significance of death, and various aspects of love. Each of these themes appears—in a variety of forms
and places—in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Select a theme and an author from our studies earlier in the semester.
Then, elaborate the ways in which McCarthy clarifies, agrees with, disagrees with, deepens, or otherwise illuminates
your chosen author’s position on this theme. Base your essay off of specific passages in the writings of your chosen
author and The Road.
Option 2: “The boy nodded. He sat looking at the map. The man watched him. He thought he knew what that was
about. He’d pored over maps as a child, keeping one finger on the town where he lived. Just as he would look up his
family in the phone directory. Themselves among others, everything in its place. Justified in the world.”
-Cormac McCarthy, The Road p.182
“Years later he’d stood in the charred ruins of a library where blackened books lay in pools of water. Shelves tipped over.
Some rage at the lies arranged in their thousands row on row. He picked up one of the books and thumbed through the
heavy bloated pages. He’d not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised
him. That the space which these things occupy was itself an expectation. He let the book fall and took a last look around
and made his way out into the cold gray light.” -Cormac McCarthy, The Road p.187
Using these quotations as your starting point, write an interpretation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road which
attempts to illustrate its view of the human situation in the world as it relates to knowledge. What do human beings
assume they know about the world, and what sorts of knowledge do they take for granted? What can a catastrophic
event like the one featured in The Road teach human beings about the fragility or strength of the intellectual and
moral framework by which they orient themselves in the world? How permanent or enduring are the intellectual and
spiritual structures we rely on in ordinary life? Base your answers off of specific passages and incidents that address
these questions (there are many more relevant passages than the two listed above).

Do not write a summary of the texts. Focus on analysis instead of summary, and assume your
audience (me) has read the books you are discussing.
Citation Instructions:
Douglass (D, 3)
Shakespeare (S, 65)
Hemingway (H, 20)
Aristotle (A, 34)
Courser Reader (CR, 21) [The Bible, The Republic, etc.]
Stockdale (St, 44)
Dostoevsky (Do, 23)
Aristophanes (Ao, 32)
Plato’s Apology (Pl, 24)
Epictetus (E, 39)
McCarthy (M, 49)

won’t. websites. See the appendix of the course reader for additional writing guidelines and instructions. Aim for clear. Your essay will be assessed in accordance with the following three criteria. Grading Note: Consult the course reader appendix for additional writing advice and a guide to my grading standards. shouldn’t) or the first person (“I feel that…”) or slang or colloquial expressions (“Aristotle is. arguing your answer to the prompt before a judge or jury. concision.). Use twelve point Times New Roman font. books. and 1 inch margins. Failure to abide by this stipulation constitutes a violation of academic integrity and will be treated accordingly. things are off to a bad start. It may help to imagine that you are a lawyer. unpretentious prose that sets forth your thesis concisely and correctly. double-spaced paragraphs. clarity) . please cite the page numbers as follows: “Justice is the advantage of the stronger” (CR. essays. Under no circumstances should you consult secondary literature (articles. word usage. This is an exercise in formal writing. not to summarize someone else’s thoughts about it. spelling.When you use quotations. If by the end of the first paragraph the reader doesn’t know what point you are setting out to prove. Your essay must have a thesis—a point it will set out to prove—that is stated clearly in the first paragraph. like. 44). You are free to make use of your notes from class. with each criterion receiving approximately equal weight: -The cogency and coherence of your argument -Your skill in interpreting the relevant text(s) -The quality of your writing (grammar. Please staple the pages together and number them. the purpose of this assignment is to prompt you to think independently about the text. totally awesome…”). structure. style. etc. You should therefore not use contractions (can’t.